Date: 17th October 2000

Sony Mann-Acles Ali Biopic

Columbia Pictures execs and director Michael Mann are due to continue discussions today (Tuesday) over the studio's reported decision last week to pull the plug on a planned biopic of Muhammad Ali, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Tuesday). (Other publications also reported that the film appeared to be doomed, including Daily Variety, which broke the story on Monday. Today's New York Post commented that the film "is on the ropes, apparently KO'd by its own $100-million-plus budget.")

The Times reported that during a meeting with studio execs on Monday, Mann presented a list of financial concessions he was willing to make. These reportedly included cutting some expensive location shooting and agreeing to take a cut in upfront fees. Mann also indicated that star Will Smith and producer Jon Peters had also agreed to take fee cuts.

In reporting on the latest developments, the Times commented, "The Sony-Columbia brass may look smart for trying to rein in a director on a very expensive movie. But they mismanaged the situation by publicly putting the studio at odds with one of Hollywood's biggest stars and biggest directors and embarrassing everyone."

Source: Studio Briefing